Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Joy!!

I'm so excited about this holiday season! Maybe it has something to do with having a little one around this year? Regardless, I thought I would post a few of my favorite holiday images/memories.

Niswonger Performing Arts Center

I happen to teach in a building that has a wonderful performing arts center attached to it. This facility attracts acts of all kinds and puts on outstanding performances! I'm not sure that the kids know how lucky they are to be in such an unusual setting for their education. To learn more about the Niswongr Performing Arts Center, you can visit

I'm on a really fun committee that gets the pleasure of decorating the PAC for each season. Of course, Christmas is the holiday we go all out for. Pictured are some images from the PAC at Christmas time. If you get a chance to check it out in person, its so worth the trip!!


Is it "Still-Lifes" or Still-Lives"...I've always wondered. Regardless, they are up and the drawing unit at each grade level has begun!!! Just thought I'd post some pics of this trimester's Still-Lifes. Kids can choose which one they want to draw, as well as the angel they would like to draw from.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paper Relief Sculptures

The 8th graders finished their trimester in art by creating relief sculptures. We bagan by looking at several examples of what artists today are doing with paper. To begin the brainstorming process, all of the kids sketched 4 different patterns to help them get ideas for their sculptures. The sculptures were built on scrap mat board and they used the collage table for the materials. The only requirement was that they had to have at least 3 levels. Several of them turned out really nice. I've posted a few of my favorites!

Lots of Lines

The 7th graders recently spent time learning about line. We discussed how lines are all around us and how we can use line to create art. Each child chose a landscape picture and sketched it on their paper. Then, instead of coloring it in they filled in the picture by using different types of lines for each area. Here are some of the results.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I LOVE THIS PROJECT!! This is the only project that I teach that I will still be teaching when I retire. Others have come and go, but this project finds so much success that I hope to always teach it! I have so many kids that come back and tell me that their parents framed their self-portrait and hung it in their house. In fact, my husband's cousin's has been hanging in his house for several years.

To begin, I take a photograph of each student with a black background, lights out, with just a spotlight, using "Solarize" on a dinosaur of a digital camera. Next, the tech guy prints them out for me in black and white, and the kids enlarge their picture (using a grid system) until its 3 times bigger. Then, it's simply a matter of choosing a color and painting the tints and shades of that color. The kids are always amazed how much easier it is than they thought it would be.

Landscape Collages

The 6th graders just finished their landscape collages. When we began, we looked at work by Mischa Epstein and the wonderful collages she creates. As we looked at her work, I had the kids point out different ways that she created different areas (mountains, water, clouds, trees, etc.). When we began collaging, all students were told to begin with the area that was the furthest away from them and move forward. I was very pleased with the results!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Glass Fusing!

We've been experimenting with glass lately. Every year our 8th graders go to Washington DC. This year there were 32 kids that stayed back for various reasons. Usually trying to find a project that these kids will enjoy seems like mission impossible. This year, it all seemed to click. My hubby came in over the weekend and smashed a bunch of glass bottles. We used those chunks of glass to create beautiful sun-catchers. Since then, I have spoken with some "Glass People" that have given me new temperatures to try. Stay tuned, as this is something I plan on continuing with!

Oink! Oink! Zoo Pals!

While Blogsurfing, I came across an art teacher that created Zoo Pals out of clay. My first thought was, "That looks too easy"...then we started making ours. While they were difficult to sculpt, they were a great deal of fun to glaze. The kids did a fabulous job on these and we had fun!

Clay Leaves

I search and search for clay projects that look cool. Oh, the troubles I have. So, this year I decided to start, "Blogsurfing" (not sure its a common term, just one I find fun) for fun lessons. I'm not afraid to admit that this lesson was one I borrowed from another art teacher while Blogsurfing. I love the fall __________ (fill in the blank with leaves, weather, smells, colors, activities, etc. and all pertain to me). So, when I saw this idea of having the kids make clay leaves I was really excited but a little worried that it was too easy.....then I decided to add my own levels of difficulty.

We start all clay projects with a vocabulary test that all of the kids must pass. Next, I sent the kids out in search of the largest leaves they could find. They came in with several really cool leaves! The kids then had to roll out a slab of clay that was 1/8 of an inch thick, press their leaf into it, and trace around the leaf. We then smoothed out the leaf and pressed it into a bowl. For the bisque fire (the first firing of the clay), I left the leaves in the clay.

For the first day of glazing, I brought in a plethera of fall leaves and the kids chose one as their, "inspiration" for their glaze. We started by glazing the veins of the leaves and then moved on from there. I was really pleased with the outcomes!